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September 30, 2008 - 8:50am
Back in the days when my peers and I were having our children, I remember hearing that one friend didn’t plan to say “no” to her new baby daughter. She didn’t mean that she would indulge her endlessly, only that she was going to try to redirect her behavior rather than chastise it. I was incredulous — deep in the throes of parenting a four or five year old, I couldn’t imagine restricting my vocabulary that way. “No” was a necessity of life — and has continued to be.
September 29, 2008 - 10:13pm
A new correspondent writes: I just graduated with my masters in Biology and started to look at jobs in the tech industry and teaching adjunct on the side. I loved teaching when I TA'ed in grad school, a fact that was surprising to me. Well, I never found a tech job but took as many classes as I could teach at the local CC. I love it, I love teaching, interacting with the students, and helping them to understand things. I learn each day how to help both adult learners and new HS grads. I have decided to pursue teaching full time as a career choice.
September 28, 2008 - 9:50pm
Okay, so we're running a huge national debt, financed largely by borrowing from other countries. As I understand it, the value of dollars on international markets drops as more of them are held out there in reserve; in other words, the more we borrow, the less our dollars are worth. This is part of what's keeping the price of oil high despite worldwide recession, since it's priced in a declining currency. (There's also 'peak oil' and rapid industrialization in China, but the declining currency factor plays a role.)
September 28, 2008 - 5:45pm
It you live in the USA or Canada, there's an election going on in your life. I'm not going to tell you what color (oops, I mean "party") to vote for, but I do have an opportunity for you to knock some of the rust off your perhaps disused voting skills before the big day arrives. Also a chance to watch some pretty good environmental videos -- no extra charge.
September 26, 2008 - 1:30pm
Yesterday, the N.Y. Mercantile started auctioning mandatory carbon allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. They're mandatory, that is, if you're an electric power producer, located in any of ten northeastern US states, whose generation process burns fossil fuels. (So if you're a chemical plant, or have business operations only in Alabama, or you're strictly into wind- or hydro-powered generation, your don't really care.)
September 26, 2008 - 12:20am
I have a friend in my discipline whose mother recently became ill. It is a relapse of cancer that she and her family thought had been resolved. It goes without saying that her family is devastated. This friend is also a professor who is struggling to maintain her classes and research while attending to the needs of her family. Her relationship to her department is strained, to say the least. She is asked to do too much, taken advantage of too often. Although she loves her work, it sometimes takes over her life.
September 25, 2008 - 11:36pm
I think the kids picked up the 'obsessed with language' gene. Two vignettes from last night's dinner: The Wife: TG, tell Daddy what you said at school today. The Girl (earnestly): Daddy, 'tushie' is more appwopwiate than "heinie." So now we know. Later: The Boy: During recess, Dylan got hit in the you-know-whats. (pause) TB: You know, the nuts. Got it, thanks.
September 25, 2008 - 3:04pm
Like everybody else, I'm following what's happening in Washington with regard to the possible bailout of financial markets. What strikes most me is the paucity of actual thought involved -- in the proposed solution (spend lots of taxpayer money to buy assets which the market currently considers worthless), in the sales pitch (if you don't do this right now, America turns into a third-world country -- trust us both to understand the problem and to administer the solution without oversight), and in the lack of substantive press coverage (will Democrats? won't Republicans?
September 25, 2008 - 11:08am
Suicides, especially the suicides of sensitive writers we love (Virginia Woolf, Randall Jarrell, Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace), are a serious body blow. They anger and demoralize us. They make us brood. Even if he'd left a tightly argued, thousand page suicide letter -- with endnotes -- we'd find what Wallace did mysterious, unaccountable. Yet if suicide is a million miles away from our experience, it's also luridly intimate.


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